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GW SMHS Researchers Determine Dermatologists Open to Embracing Artificial Intelligence

A research team at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), led by Chapman Wei, MD ’21, have found that artificial intelligence (AI) may play a welcome role in dermatology. AI, such as machine-learning, which has been incorporated into photography, dermoscopy, and confocal microscopy, is a burgeoning field in dermatology and could be well-suited for clinical practice, according to the researchers.

Wei and the team, including Nagasai C. Adusumilli, a fourth-year MD student at GW SMHS; Adam Friedman, MD, professor and chair of the GW SMHS Department of Dermatology; and Vishal Patel, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at GW SMHS and director of cutaneous oncology at the GW Cancer Center, surveyed 90 dermatologists about their attitudes toward AI.

“Our results showed that while most respondents were somewhat familiar with AI, they hadn’t incorporated it into their clinical practice,” Patel said. “There is so much potential for AI, and close to 95% of respondents said they would use AI, depending on the situation.”

About 65% of respondents also felt that AI would help patients with understanding their electronic health records, and 39% predicted that it wouldn’t reduce the need for dermatologists. More than half of respondents felt that AI would enhance dermatologists’ ability to screen skin lesions, with respondents identifying AI as being most beneficial for malignant skin lesions and benign skin lesions.

“Ultimately, we determined that the dermatologists we surveyed were positive about integrating AI into their clinical practices,” Patel said. “While further investigation is needed, this study shows that dermatologists, in general, are open and welcoming of AI in dermatology and that perceptions are shifting toward more innovative approaches to care.”

The study, “Perceptions of Artificial Intelligence Integration into Dermatology Clinical Practice: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study,” appears in the February 2022 issue of Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.